As part of my quest to get my seven-year-old daughter acquainted with financial responsibility, we have been playing computer games designed to teach kids how to save, spend, and invest money wisely. A couple of weeks ago we played Planet Orange, an outer-space themed money game that Jane enjoyed. This week, we’ve been playing Disney’s The Great Piggy Bank Adventure, a multi-player animated board game that presents finance-based challenges.
In this colorful 3D world, each player chooses a big-ticket item they want to save up for. Jane picked a pet rabbit and cage. I chose a treehouse. We took turns rolling a die, which caused our gamepieces (animated kids) to move along a gameboard. Landing on a square triggered a challenge requiring a decision about money – do you buy candy now, or save the money in the bank, for instance? The answers to the questions were fairly obvious, but Jane enjoyed seeing the money build up in her account (a gold piggy bank that represented a savings account), and accruing interest. She asked me what interest was, and I explained it to her. She seemed to get the idea, but was antsy to get back to the game, so I waited until later that night at dinner to go over the concept in more detail.
After each of us saved up enough to buy our chosen items, we went into round two. This time, we were each given two piggy banks, the gold savings account as before, and a blue investment account. I explained to Jane that the blue piggy bank might give her a better return than the gold bank, but she might lose money, too. After thinking about it, she divvied up her savings between the two banks. That’s called “diversifying,” I said, telling her it’s a smart way to invest.
We still haven’t completed the adventure, but Jane has already declared “The Great Piggybank Adventure” to be better than “Planet Orange.” When I asked her why, she explained, “Because you can’t have fun in Planet Orange, but you can have a lot of fun in Piggybank Adventure.” She may be exaggerating, but I tend to agree. Disney’s game is more attractive and fast-paced, and if played with a parent, leads to better learning opportunities.